The BRAD BLOG https://bradblog.com Because it's not about Right or Left, it's about Right and Wrong! Thu, 23 May 2024 01:30:37 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.0.2 en NY Trump Trial Ketchup: Costello Fails, Trump Bails, Defense Rests: 'BradCast' 5/22/2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15041 https://bradblog.com/?p=15041#comments Thu, 23 May 2024 01:19:06 +0000 Brad Friedman California Oregon Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Maryland New York Mainstream Media Failure Accountability FBI Voter Registration Kentucky Rudy Giuliani KPFK Donald Trump Election 2016 BradCast Election 2020 Stormy Daniels/Stephanie Clifford Michael Cohen Baltimore Election 2024 Fani Willis https://bradblog.com/?p=15041 How many times did the disgraced, twice-impeached, four-time criminally indicted former President tell us he would "absolutely" be taking the oath to testify in his own defense at his 2016 election interference trial in New York? More times than we can count. Each time was a lie, as discussed among other matters on today's BradCast, as closing arguments are set to begin next week, before jury deliberations in the first-ever criminal trial of a U.S. President. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to today's "ketchup" konversation on Trump's first criminal trial, we touch on a few noteworthy results out of primary and special elections in Georgia, Kentucky, Oregon and California on Tuesday, along with problem reports for voters and tabulation out of Georgia, Kentucky and, from last week's primaries, in both Baltimore and Prince George's County, Maryland.

Then, we're joined once again by award-winning columnist HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, of Salon and Hullaballoo, and former attorney and lifelong Republican KEITH BARBER, who now regularly blogs on legal matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos.

On Tuesday, the Defense rested in Donald J. Trump's criminal trial in New York on 34 felony counts related to a hush-money payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in the weeks before the 2016 election, in a successful effort to help him cheat to win it. The trial has focused on the subsequent, allegedly falsified reimbursements made by Trump during his first year in the White House to his then lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen to cover it all up.

Last week, Cohen finished his testimony as the final witness for the Prosecution. This week, Robert Costello, a cartoonishly thuggish lawyer buddy of both Trump and Rudy Giuliani, took the stand as one of just two witnesses called by the Defense. After a turn last week before the GOP's U.S. House "Weaponization of Justice" Committee, Costello would be the final witness for the Defense, in what turned out to be a wildly failed effort to try and discredit Cohen.

We catch up on all of that today, as we discuss, among other things...

  • Justice Juan Merchan's upbraiding of Costello during his obnoxious testimony as the Defense's star witness, turning what might have been a mild win for Trump following cross-examination last week of Cohen, into what both Parton and Barber characterize as a disaster for the Defense. According to Parton, "It was really stupid of them to call him, knowing that the prosecution already knew what he had to say...He was bombastic, he was rude. ... Costello looked like a hired gun."
  • To the surprise of absolutely no one, Trump failed to take the witness stand in his own defense after all, following months of promising to do so. It may have been the only smart thing he has done to help his case during the entire trial. As Parton notes, "Trump saw him as a good stand-in for himself," as he was almost certainly testifying at the instance of Trump and against advice of counsel. It went at least as poorly for Costello as it would have gone for the former President turned current Defendant, had he taken the stand.
  • Barber details what he sees as "the missing link" in the Prosecution's case and "the biggest weakness" in the Defense's cases; how the jury is likely to view Trump's lack of testifying in his own defense ("The jury will be strongly admonished by the judge to not consider Donald Trump's failure to testify"); and what exactly they will be charged with deciding when they are finally instructed by the judge --- likely beginning next week --- to begin deliberations.
  • Parton discusses her biggest concerns about the case, and how the mainstream corporate media has failed, yet again, in its responsibility of accurately reporting on the threat to the nation represented by Trump. Barber casts more blame on his old party, the Republicans.
  • And, in a related matter today, we turn to the federal criminal indictment against Trump down in Florida for stealing highly classified national security documents and refusing to return them to the Government. On Wednesday, earlier court documents related to the eventual search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago, were unsealed, leading Trump to lie about the FBI being "locked and loaded" in an attempt to "assassinate" him during the search...when Trump was in an entirely different state.

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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=15041 Trump Dark Money Group Dumping Tens of Millions on Racist, Transphobic Disinfo Ads: 'BradCast' 5/21/2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15040 https://bradblog.com/?p=15040#comments Wed, 22 May 2024 01:42:52 +0000 Brad Friedman Arizona BRAD BLOG Media Appearance New York Iran Accountability Immigration Vote Caging/Intimidation/Suppression Rudy Giuliani U.S. Supreme Court Israel WikiLeaks KPFK Donald Trump U.K. Julian Assange Election 2016 Samuel Alito BradCast Race Stephen Miller Election 2020 Kelli Ward Benjamin Netanyahu Insurrection Election 2024 Int'l Criminal Court https://bradblog.com/?p=15040 We're back on today's BradCast after an unavoidable extended weekend due to a family funeral. We've got a lot to get caught up on today. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

Before we get to today's guest, a few quick headlines from over the weekend and through today...

  • Iran's President and Foreign Minister were killed over the weekend in a helicopter crash in foggy conditions in the northern part of the country.
  • The top prosecutor at the International Criminal Court is seeking arrest warrants for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as three Hamas leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity in both Gaza and Israel.
  • A British court has granted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange the right to appeal his extradition to the U.S. on 17 espionage charges and one for computer misuse related to the publication of classified U.S. documents 15 years ago.
  • The New York Times revealed last week that rightwing Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito flew an upside down American flag --- a MAGA "stop the steal" symbol --- at his home for several days following the Trump-incited January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Nonetheless, the corrupt Alito has failed to recuse himself from cases involving the 2020 election, including the Court's pending opinion on "Presidential Immunity" which has held up Trump's federal trial for months in his indictment on multiple failed attempts to steal the 2020 election.
  • Rudy Giuliani and 11 others, including Kelli Ward, the former chair of the Arizona Republican Party, were arraigned on Tuesday in Phoenix for their roles in attempting to steal the state's 2020 election for Trump. Giuliani and the others face multiple counts each (nine in Rudy's case) related to conspiracy, forgery and fraud.
  • The Defense rested on Tuesday in Donald Trump's 2016 election interference trial in New York, where he is facing 34 felony charges related to the falsification of documents to hide a hush-money payment to a porn star just before that year's election day. The disgraced former President, who repeatedly vowed that he would testify in his own defense at the criminal trial, did not do so. As expected. Closing arguments are next week.
  • Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday for down-ballot primaries and special elections in Kentucky, Oregon, Georgia and California on Tuesday. We'll have any available noteworthy results and problems reports on tomorrow's BradCast.

Then we're joined by VICTORIA CADOSTIN, researcher and writer at the non-profit watchdog organization DOCUMENTED to explain who is behind the new Trump-aligned extremist group known as "Citizens for Sanity". In a weekend article at The Guardian, Cadostin and her colleague Brendan Fischer break down details from newly obtained filings by the dark money group revealing they spent more more than $90 million dollars in the final few months of 2022 alone on a flood of what have been described as "vile, racist and transphobic" ads designed to disinform, terrify, divide and incite the voting public.

"They were one of the biggest election spenders in the last election cycle," Cadostin explains. "What's really alarming about it is that our records show that Citizens For Sanity is housed at the Conservative Partnership Institute, which has been characterized as the 'nerve center' of the rightwing." She describes the group as the homebase for the Trump Administration in exile, as it's led by former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows as well as one of his former attorneys (and election fraudsters) Cleta Mitchell. It also shares the same leadership with American First Legal, a rightwing extremist lawfare organization headed up by Trump's MAGA anti-immigrant henchman Stephen Miller.

"CPI represents the creation of MAGA political infrastructure," says Cadostin. "These are all folks who are in the MAGA world very deeply, and who have a lot of power in that world, who are pushing out this messaging and pushing out extremism."

The group spent tens of millions of dollars from unknown donors on ads that air heavily in battleground states and swing districts, and even during highly-viewed mainstream events such as the World Series.

The organization uses racist messaging against Blacks and Latino immigrants in its ads, even while it also targets those same communities with different ads in hopes of suppressing their voters. "It's really a targeted effort to stoke racial hostility and suppress the vote however they can for the base that they don't think will vote Republican or conservative," she says. "While at the same time pushing out messaging that will move a conservative base, a white American base, to show up at the polls. It is very sinister, the way they are twisting this, using this information to mobilize one particular base against another."

"These divisive ads and the spreading of misinformation in order to sway folks in swing districts have a real impact outside of just voting," argues Cadostin. "This kind of messaging supports the rise of anti-trans legislation and violence against trans folks, as well as the rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, legislation and violence. Powerful folks are throwing money around to manufacture racial and gendered hostility in the voting population. And it's also further evidence that attacks on equality and democracy are often coming from the exact same place."

What can be done about any of it, since, as disgusting as it all is, it's all largely been legalized by a string of rightwing SCOTUS decisions over the years? We discuss that as well on today's BradCast...

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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=15040 Sunday 'I Scream Cohen' Toons https://bradblog.com/?p=15039 https://bradblog.com/?p=15039#comments Sun, 19 May 2024 13:35:15 +0000 Brad Friedman Toons https://bradblog.com/?p=15039

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Republican FEC Commissioners Vote to Allow Campaign Donors to Hide Their Identity: 'BradCast' 5/16/2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15038 https://bradblog.com/?p=15038#comments Fri, 17 May 2024 01:55:27 +0000 Brad Friedman Election Reform BRAD BLOG Media Appearance U.S. Constitution Mainstream Media Failure Louisiana U.S. Supreme Court FEC Joe Biden Clarence Thomas KPFK Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Canada Voting Rights Act Climate change Extreme weather China BradCast Electric vehicles CFPB Gerrymandering/Redistricting Election 2024 Artificial Intelligence / AI Alan Dickerson https://bradblog.com/?p=15038 It's received almost zero attention or notice, but the Republican appointees to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday tried to overturn a bedrock principle of American democracy: transparency of contributions and the identities of donors to political campaigns. The move caught us here at The BradCast by surprise, but we feel slightly better after hearing that our guest today, one of the nation's foremost experts on campaign finance, also just learned about this unprecedented effort. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

BUT FIRST UP... Two unusual rulings from the packed, stolen and corrupted U.S. Supreme Court. Unusual for several reasons. One, because both oppose rightwing advocacy. Two, because a majority of rightwingers on the Court voted in favor of both of them. And three, because the Court's liberals voted in a bloc against one of them! We try to make sense of all of that for you today in each of the two rulings.

One came late on Wednesday, when the Court invoked the so-called Purcell Principle, which prevents changes to election rules, laws and district maps too close to an election, theoretically in order to avoid confusion by voters or election administrators. But this principle is opportunistically invoked by the rightwing Court when they feel like it --- even it means allowing, for example, the use of a U.S. House District map that has been found unconstitutional by the courts --- and ignored when they don't.

Their unsigned shadow-docket ruling [PDF] on Wednesday, however, invoked Purcell to allow a U.S. House District map that was newly approved by Louisiana's GOP-controlled legislature. It adds a second Black-majority voting district in the state after its previous map was found to be in violation of the Voting Rights Act following a years-long legal fight. But after the new map was approved by the state earlier this year, a group of self-described "non-Black voters" sued, claiming the new map was an unlawful racial gerrymander. A 3-judge panel on the 5th Circuit agreed and ordered a new new map. That is the order that was blocked on Wednesday by SCOTUS, allowing the second Black-majority district to stand as is, at least for 2024, even as the Court's liberal Justices, to the surprise of many, voted in against the rightwing majority. If you're confused as to why, tune in! We explain all!

The other unusual SCOTUS ruling came today, via a 7 to 2 majority opinion [PDF] written by Justice Clarence Thomas(!) and opposed only by fellow rightwing Justices Sam Alito and Neil Gorsuch. The majority opinion rejected an effort by the sleazy payday lending industry to kill the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The CFPB was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren during the Obama Administration, before she became a U.S. Senator. It was created on the heels of the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the Great Recession. To avoid industry influence on funding of the federal government's only consumer-oriented agency, it was housed inside of the Federal Reserve and allowed to draw up to $600 million per year for its budget, rather than go through the Congressional appropriations process each year. The payday lender group filed suit to argue the CFPB's funding mechanism ran afoul of the Constitution's Appropriations Clause and, therefore, all of the CFPB's actions since its 2010 founding, including billions of dollars in fines leveed against their industry, must all be rolled back and the agency dissolved.

Thomas, the Court's liberals, and three more of its Republican appointees flatly rejected the lender's case. They held that, though its funding mechanism is somewhat outside the norm, Congress may still change the way it is funded at any time. Also, as the majority opinion notes, there have been other agencies, such as the Customs Service and USPS, which have had similar, non-annual standing appropriations since the founding of the country.

NEXT... On Thursday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) held an historic vote on a new rule to allow campaign donors to remain anonymous if they claimed that allowing their identities to become public would lead to harassment. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) already allows some very rare exceptions for members of groups who are shown to have been historically harassed by the U.S. Government itself. Beyond that, however, allowing for campaign donors to remain anonymous challenges the very basis of our system of open, transparent, democratic elections.

We're joined today by CRAIG HOLMAN, longtime government affairs and ethics lobbyist at the non-profit watchdog Public Citizen. He is helping to lead the fight against this startling effort headed up by Trump-appointed FEC Commissioner Alan Dickerson.

The new rule "cuts into the very fabric of a functional democratic society," argues Public Citizen in its public comment against the rule. They note it would "vastly expand the donor [disclosure] exemption far beyond its original purpose, would undermine effective disclosure of the sources of political spending, deprive voters of critical election information, swamp the FEC under a wave of new paperwork, and runs contrary to the core mission of the agency." Other than that, it's great!

"What I really find astounding is that people of all partisan persuasions, Democrats and Republicans, have always believed in disclosure," Holman tells me today. "That's the one pillar of campaign finance law that no one has really come out against. The Republicans may come out against contribution limits, regulation of money in politics, but they always say to have transparency so we know where the money is coming from. This is the very first time that the FEC has encroached upon that principle."

The good(ish) news for now, is that he reports the Commission deadlocked, in a three-to-three vote along partisan lines today. That kills it for the moment. Though, in a second vote today, Holman says they agreed to ask the FEC's General Counsel to study the matter and report back in 75 days. That, he says, is likely to result in a second attempt by Dickerson later this year. Holman says he knows Dickerson to be a "hardcore deregulation" supporter. But "this is the first time the FEC has addressed the actual issue: 'Should we just get rid of disclosure altogether?'"

"Fortunately the FEC deadlocked," Holman says. But "that means three Republicans were saying 'Yes, let's get rid of disclosure!' That's frightening. We only defeated this resolution by a deadlock vote."

Holman has much more on "how absurd" Dickerson's proposal is, and the fact that "it caught us all by surprise." He also fills us in on a petition that he has filed for a new FEC rule that will be voted on next month regarding mandatory disclosure by campaigns when they use deepfake audio and video, created by Artificial Intelligence, to mislead voters.

FINALLY... Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as wildfires continue to explode in Canada; Broadcast media continues to ignore Donald Trump's billion-dollar quid pro quo proposal to Big Oil donors; and Joe Biden takes on China regarding the sale of electric vehicles and solar panels in the U.S...

[NOTE: The BradCast will be off at the beginning of next week due to a family funeral. We'll be back soon!]

CLICK TO LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD SHOW!...

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]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=15038 'Green News Report' - May 16, 2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15037 https://bradblog.com/?p=15037#comments Thu, 16 May 2024 17:35:11 +0000 Desi Doyen West Virginia Mainstream Corporate Media Texas Mainstream Media Failure Environment U.S. Senate Democrats Green News Donald Trump Coal Canada Oil Wind energy Solar energy Extreme weather China Electric vehicles Philippines Jim Justice Pollution Election 2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15037
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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Canada wildfires expand, threaten oil industry town of Fort McMurray, again; Climate change made extreme heat in Asia significantly worse; PLUS: Broadcast media ignored Donald Trump's blatant, billion-dollar quid pro quo offer to Big Oil... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): DeSantis signs law deleting climate change from Florida policy; A Trump win puts $1 Trillion in US energy investments at risk; How Alabama turned to restrictive deed covenants to ward off flooding claims from black residents; Oakland is now first in the US to have a 100% electric school bus fleet - and it's V2G; Impunity and pollution abound in DRC mining of critical minerals; Persistent Brazil floods raise specter of climate migration... PLUS: Don't fall for 'climate-friendly' beef... and much, MUCH more! ...

STORIES DISCUSSED ON TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...

  • Canada wildfires expand and threaten Alberta's Fort McMurray, again:
  • Climate change made relentless extreme heat across Asia significantly worse:
  • Summer 2023 was hottest summer in at least 2000 years:
  • Another barge collides with a bridge, causing oil spill:
  • WV coal baron, Gov. Jim Justice, wins GOP Senate nomination:
  • Broadcast media ignored Trump's blatant solicitation for Big Oil campaign cash:
  • Trump vows to destroy the U.S. offshore wind industry:
  • Biden slaps major tariffs on imports of Chinese EVs and solar cells:
  • 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...

    For a comprehensive roundup of daily environmental news you can trust, see the Society of Environmental Journalists' Daily Headlines page


    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=15037 Trump Trial Ketchup: Michael Cohen, a 'Smoking Gun', and 'Knee-Deep in the Cult of Trump': 'BradCast' 5/15/2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15036 https://bradblog.com/?p=15036#comments Thu, 16 May 2024 01:38:19 +0000 Brad Friedman West Virginia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Maryland New York Accountability U.S. Senate Democrats Republicans Nebraska Joe Biden KPFK Donald Trump Election 2016 BradCast Nikki Haley Larry Hogan Commission on Presidential Debates Stormy Daniels/Stephanie Clifford Michael Cohen Trump Organization Election 2024 Allen Weisselberg Vivek Ramaswamy Mike Johnson Angela Alsobrooks https://bradblog.com/?p=15036 It has been the most important week in the New York criminal trial of Donald J. Trump, as the last witness for the prosecution, Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen took the stand. The court is off today, so we have time on today's BradCast to catch our breath for yet another Trump Trial "ketchup" show for you. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

    BUT FIRST, we've got a few noteworthy results from Tuesday's primary elections in Nebraska, Maryland and West Virginia, where, once again --- other than in WV --- Joe Biden outperformed Donald Trump among their respective party voters. Yes, the zombie campaign of Nikki Haley keeps on going. The former South Carolina Governor, who dropped out of the race months ago at this point, won 20% of the GOP vote in MD, while she and one other GOP candidate (that few have heard of) won about the same percentage among Republicans in Nebraska. In both states, Biden outpaced Trump among his own party's primary voters. FWIW.

    On Wednesday, Biden threw down the gauntlet to challenge Trump to two early debates hosted by media outlets --- in a studio, without an audience --- rather than by the non-partisan Committee on Presidential Debates. The Biden-Harris Campaign explained their several reasons for pre-empting the CPD in a letter. They are mostly good ones. Among them, the fact that the group has failed to update its schedule for debates to hold them before tens of millions of Americans have already cast their ballots this year via early and absentee voting.

    Trump quickly accepted the challenge, and within hours the pair had agreed to allow CNN host the first debate in Atlanta on June 27, and ABC to host the second on September 10.

    THEN, it's on to today's coverage of noteworthy news from the 5th week of the first-ever criminal trial of a former American President. We're joined again today for insight and commentary by HEATHER DIGBY PARTON, award-winning Salon columnist and Hullaballoo blogger, and former attorney and former Republican KEITH BARBER, who now blogs on legal matters as "KeithDB" at the progressive Daily Kos.

    Among our many topics of discussion today...

    • Parton discusses the embarrassing parade of elected Republican deplorables now showing up at the courthouse in Manhattan --- mostly in red ties and navy suits --- to display their love for the boss, audition to become his Vice Presidential nominee, and/or say the things that the Court has barred Trump from saying via a gag order. Among the "toadies [who] came a-croaking," as Barber quips: Senators JD Vance (OH) and Tommy Tuberville (AL), Rep. Byron Donalds (FL), Gov. Doug Burgham (ND), Vivek Ramaswamy, and, perhaps most shamefully from the former "Rule of Law" party, House Speaker Mike Johnson (LA). "These people are playing to Donald Trump," explains Parton, along with the warning that many of them are "the Michael Cohens the future."
    • This week's critical testimony of Michael Cohen --- who Parton describes as a "diminished, humiliated man sitting on the witness stand having to admit, over and over again, that he was a liar, a fool, a dupe, he got sent to jail, all in service to Donald Trump" --- and the "smoking gun" bank statement featuring proof of Cohen's $130,000 hush-money payment to porn storm Stormy Daniels. That document, we have now learned, also features Cohen's own hand-writing and that of former (now jailed for perjury) Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Their marginalia details how the falsified reimbursements to Cohen, fraudulently described in the Trump Org's books as "legal retainer" fees, would be made in $35,000 monthly payments by Trump during his first year in the White House. But, as importantly, Cohen testified that Trump personally approved the fraudulent reimbursement scheme during a meeting at Trump Tower with both Cohen and Weisselberg present after Trump's hush-money scheme helped him to win the 2016 election.
    • Barber describes what he saw as a surprisingly limp start to cross-examination of Cohen by Trump's lead attorney, Todd Blanche, on Tuesday and how, frankly, Team Trump doesn't seem to have much to work with after the Prosecution spent much of their direct examination "inoculating the jury" to Cohen's many years of lying on behalf of Trump before he came clean and pleaded guilty to many of the crimes Trump is now being held to account for. Trump's attorneys have presented no alternative theory in the case, says Barber. Which also means they are unlikely to offer much, if any, defense case at all after the Prosecution rests. On Tuesday, they informed the judge that Cohen will be their final witness. Team Trump, meanwhile, is still pretending that Trump might actually testify. (He won't.)

    Cohen's cross-examination of continues and likely completes on Thursday, and then the court will be off on Friday to allow Trump to go to his son Baron's high-school graduation (if the disgraced former President actually bothers to show up for it.) But it's been a fascinating and critical week of testimony so far, including Cohen's explanation of how he spent years "knee-deep in the cult of Donald Trump".

    "Cult of Donald Trump"? What "cult of Donald Trump"?...

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    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=15036 LAPD Right-Wing Bias in Violent Response to UCLA Protest Was No Surprise https://bradblog.com/?p=15025 https://bradblog.com/?p=15025#comments Wed, 15 May 2024 17:05:07 +0000 Ernest A. Canning California Mississippi Pennsylvania Alabama Missouri Accountability Michigan Washington D.C. Donald Trump Occupy Wall Street Voting Rights Act Idaho John Lewis Gavin Newsom UCLA LAPD Daily Bruin https://bradblog.com/?p=15025 The May 3 article that appeared in UCLA's campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, was disturbing but not surprising. The LAPD stood idly by as a group of "tear gas" wielding, pro-Israel "counter-protesters" violently attacked a pro-Palestine protest encampment. The attack reportedly went on for nearly four hours before the LAPD moved in, not to stop counter-protester violence, but to breakup the encampment.

    In a formal Statement, staff members of the UCLA History Department noted:

    LAPD advanced on the student encampment, pushing and herding them, using the tactic of kettling. Forced closely together, the students made easy targets for police who shot them with stun grenades, chemical agents, and rubber bullets. Police beat them with batons and shot them with rubber bullets, striking one student in the face with a rubber bullet. At least twenty-five students had to be hospitalized. They then arrested approximately 200 students, staff, faculty, dragging visibly injured students away.

    The history professors chastised both University of California administrators and the LAPD for their "disregard" for "students' safety and their right to express their views."

    The professors weren't the only ones to express concern for law enforcement's failure to intercede as pro-Israel "counter protesters" violently attacked the encampment. California's Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, "called for investigations into [why the] pro-Israeli counter-protesters' attack...was allowed to rage for several hours with little to no police intervention."

    Sadly, the story, as recounted by the Daily Bruin and the UCLA history professors, is on the continuum of well over a century of right-wing bias on the part of local, state and federal law enforcement against those who exercise First Amendment rights to engage in non-violent strikes or in peaceful, anti-war, environmental, and civil rights protests....

    Class bias

    On far too many occasions over the last half of the 19th Century and first half of the 20th Century, police violence was utilized to suppress the aspirations of the U.S. working class.

    In some instances, like the 1897 Lattimore Massacre, xenophobia, as well as class, may have been a motivating factor. In that instance, Luzerne County PA Sheriff Deputies opened fire on striking, mostly immigrant coal miners who were marching in support of higher wages. Nineteen miners were killed and 38 injured.

    The role of class bias was not confined to local law enforcement.

    Near the end of the Hoover Administration, federal troops, under General Douglas MacArthur's command, used tanks, armed troops and bayonets in Washington DC to break-up an encampment of World War I veterans seeking to collect on bonus certificates.

    Police violence, as a form of union-busting, began to recede in 1935 in the aftermath of union protections afforded by the National Labor Relations Act. But passage of the NRLA did not bring an end to class-motivated episodes of "extraordinary police violence" --- a point we covered throughout the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    Anti-war and environment

    The protests at UCLA could accurately be described as "anti-war".

    Throughout the 1960's and '70's, those who engaged in peaceful protests against the Vietnam War were regularly subjected to police violence. Two of the more notable events entailed what would be dubbed a "police riot" when the Chicago PD violently attacked anti-war demonstrators outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and the Kent State massacre, where, on May 4, 1970, the National Guard opened fire, killing four students.

    There are, of course, multiple examples of violent police assaults on environmental protesters, one, a 2016 attack on those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline, should serve as a reminder.

    Race

    The failure of the LAPD to intercede while the UCLA anti-war demonstrators were violently attacked calls to mind one of the darker chapters in U.S. history.

    In May 1961, knowing full well that an angry KKK-led white mob planned to attack two busses carrying Freedom Riders during the civil rights movement, Bull Connor, Birmingham, Alabama's Public Safety Commissioner, used Mother's Day as a supposed reason why no police would be present when the busses arrived at Birmingham's Greyhound Station. The first bus was stopped near Anniston, AL when its tires were blown out. A bomb, thrown on the bus, burst into flames. The escaping Freedom Riders were brutally beaten, as were the Freedom Riders on the second bus when it arrived in Birmingham.

    The LAPD decision, after failing to protect the pro-Palestine demonstrators, to storm the otherwise peaceful encampment also had a 1961 antecedent: the arrest of John Lewis and hundreds of other civil rights-era Freedom Riders in Jackson, MS. Lewis, et al., were "hastily convicted of breach of the peace", according to The New York Times, which added: "Many of the Freedom Riders spent six weeks in prison, sweltering in filthy, vermin-infested cells."

    The instances of mid-twentieth century, race-based police violence against peaceful civil rights protesters are far too numerous to recount. And while the police violence unleashed upon peaceful marchers by AL state troopers on Bloody Sunday, March 17, 1965, has been credited for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the race-based disparity in the application of police violence has continued.

    For example, in a 2018 Salon article, Brad Friedman noted the stark contrast between the application of force by "militarized police" in the "tear-gas filled streets" of Ferguson, MO with the kid gloves approach to a heavily armed right wing group during a stand-off occasioned by "scofflaw" Nevada rancher, Clive Bundy, who "refused", over the course of twenty-years, to pay grazing fees for use of public lands he did not own.

    The LAPD failure to intercede when the UCLA protest encampment was attacked also calls to mind the occasion in August 2017, when, according to Pro Publica, state police and the Virginia National Guard "watched passively for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis", many sporting body armor and assault rifles, attacked counter-protesters in Charlottesville, VA. (Unlike UCLA, some of the anti-Nazi Charlottesville counter-protestors fought back, using pepper spray.)

    Where, in 2020, National Park Police and the National Guard staged an unprovoked attack on peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators in service of a Donald Trump photo-op near the White House, the members of armed right-wing mobs faced neither resistance nor legal consequences when they invaded and occupied State Capitols in Idaho and Michigan.

    Eventually, more than 1,230 members of the right-wing insurrectionist mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 would be charged with federal crimes, but only a handful of the insurrectionists were arrested inside or outside the Capitol building on Jan. 6.

    The behavior of police at UCLA was appalling. But, unfortunately, it was not a surprise.

    UPDATE 5/17/24: A more in-depth analysis of the paradox of police power is provided by the Netflix film, "Power".

    * * *
    Ernest A. Canning is a retired attorney, author, and Vietnam Veteran (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968). He previously served as a Senior Advisor to Veterans For Bernie. Canning has been a member of the California state bar since 1977. In addition to a juris doctor, he has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science. Follow him on twitter: @cann4ing


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    Could Ohio Republicans REALLY Keep Biden Off the Ballot?!: 'BradCast' 5/14/2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15035 https://bradblog.com/?p=15035#comments Wed, 15 May 2024 01:34:17 +0000 Brad Friedman Ohio Election Reform West Virginia Georgia BRAD BLOG Media Appearance Maryland Rights And Freedoms Wisconsin Dirty Tricks Washington State Vote Caging/Intimidation/Suppression Democrats Republicans Michigan Nebraska Joe Biden Vote-by-Mail KPFK Canada Oil Climate change Extreme weather Samuel Alito BradCast Brian Kemp Jim Justice Frank LaRose Dana Nessel Election 2024 Bob Ferguson https://bradblog.com/?p=15035 We're covering 2024 election news in at least four different states on today's BradCast --- track conditions, not horse race --- and only one of those stories is particularly good news as GOP dirty tricks and voter suppression seem to be getting an early start this year. [Audio link to full show follows this summary.]

    Among our main stories today...

    • Voters in Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia headed to primary polls on Tuesday, with critical U.S. Senate and other races on the ballot. Noteworthy results and/or problem reports on tomorrow's program.
    • We first began reporting on this story early last month, when it seemed utterly ridiculous to even contemplate. It still does, frankly. Nonetheless, Ohio's wildly dysfunctional, partisan-gerrymandered Republican state legislature missed last week's deadline for a legislative fix to allow Joe Biden on the Buckeye State ballot this year. Ohio has a state law that requires Presidential candidates be officially certified by their party 90 days before the general election to be included on the state ballot. But the Dems' convention this year is just 74 days before the election. In past years --- for example, for Donald Trump in 2020 --- lawmakers simply changed the deadline to cure the problem as needed when conventions are held later in the Summer. This year, however, petulant state Republicans are demanding a pound of flesh from Democrats to make any such changes. And now, with last week's deadline past, its going to be even more difficult to do so. Tune in for the full --- and still ridiculous --- skinny.
    • Speaking of ridiculous, a rightwing activist in the state of Washington placed two Democratic candidates for Governor named Bob Ferguson on the ballot last Friday, just hours before the state's August 6th primary deadline. The state's longtime Democratic Attorney General, and front-runner to win the Governorship this year, is also named Bob Ferguson. And so the GOP's dirty tricks chaos for 2024 officially begins.
    • If they can't keep Democratic candidates off the ballot for no good reason, or add several candidates with the same name to the ballot to wreak confusion, Republicans still remember how to do it with good old fashioned voter suppression laws, like the newest one signed last week by Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp.
    • Meanwhile, Democrats are still in court fighting back Republican voter suppression from years ago. On Monday, the newly liberal majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral argument to reverse a ridiculous ruling by the high court's previous rightwing majority that bans the use of secure absentee ballot drop-boxes. That, even as they've been used for years without incident or fraud in the Badger State (or anywhere else, for that matter.) The hearing was encouraging, as even the defendants --- the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission --- agree there is nothing in state law that actually bans their use. "The Commission fully agrees that drop boxes are permitted under Wisconsin statutes," said the Asst. AG representing them at the hearing. But it sure was amusing to hear Republicans argue in favor of stare decisis (respect for legal precedent and settled law) to keep the 2022 ruling in place from the rightwing partisan court just two years ago. Especially when one of the court's liberal justices at the hearing cited none other than U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito's majority opinion in Dobbs that overturned 50 years of Roe v. Wade legal precedent. Using Alito's precise language from the SCOTUS ruling, the WI Justice asked what Republican plaintiffs thought the court should do if they found the previous ruling to be "egregiously wrong".
    • Finally, Desi Doyen joins us for our latest Green News Report, as wildfire season explodes in Canada; the world records a record-breaking rise in CO2 levels; and Michigan moves to sue Big Oil for ever-worsening climate damages...

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    ]]> https://bradblog.com/?feed=rss2&p=15035 'Green News Report' - May 14, 2024 https://bradblog.com/?p=15034 https://bradblog.com/?p=15034#comments Tue, 14 May 2024 17:45:33 +0000 Desi Doyen Afghanistan Wisconsin Environment Minnesota Michigan Joe Biden Green News Hawaii Donald Trump Natural gas Canada Oil Climate change Extreme weather Exxon Mobil Saudi Arabia Vietnam Pollution FTC Dana Nessel https://bradblog.com/?p=15034
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    IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Canada's fire season erupts, forcing evacuations, as wildfire smoke chokes U.S. Upper Midwest; Record-breaking increase in carbon dioxide levels in the world's atmosphere; PLUS: Michigan is newest state to sue Big Oil for mounting climate damages... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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    IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Biden's EV tariffs give U.S. automakers a fleeting chance; FERC shakes up power industry with landmark grid rule; El Niño to end by June, La Niña seen in second half of 2024; Cloud brightening study in CA halted by local officials; Greenhouse gas milestone; CO2 levels set record; Alabama uses deed covenants to ward off flooding claims from black residents; Why you CAN recycle pizza boxes, and other recycling myths debunked; World’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target... PLUS: Where will you go if your town disappears into the ocean?... and much, MUCH more! ...

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